Black and White Thinking | Worksheets | Self-Help | Mental Health
Here's What's Inside!
14 page PDF (with a black and white version for easy printing!)
- What is Black and White Thinking?
- Examples of B&W Thinking
- How a 10-point scale can help
- Changing Your Thought Patterns
- A worksheet for when you're in the moment
- A worksheet for reviewing B&W Thinking in your life
- Digging deeper into where those feelings come from
Distorted thinking, or cognitive distortions, are ways of thinking that are self-sabotaging, wrong, or emotionally damaging.
One of the most common cognitive distortions is black-and-white, or all-or-nothing, thinking. It's when our thoughts bounce between two extremes while ignoring the middle.
I use to live in those extremes. When I started working on my anger/anxiety/depression working on black-and-white thinking was one of the first things I did. I had to learn how to balance myself (we call this emotion regulation in DBT).
Pretty much everyone has black-and-white thinking.
Sometimes it shows up in small ways: You try something new for the first time and you're just no good at it, you might think that you should stop immediately. You're working in the extremes of if you can't do it well, you're not going to do it at all, and you're completely ignoring the 'gray area' that says you can practice and improve.
Sometimes it shows up in big ways: You make a mistake at work and decide you're never going to be good enough for the position so you quit. The 'gray area' is that the mistake was fixable, you could learn from it, and one mistake doesn't define all of your ability.
These worksheets go through more examples, ask you to take a step-by-step look at your own black-and-white thought patterns, and then walk you through how to begin to change how you see those situations.